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CONTENTS OF NO. LVI.

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I. A Letter to the Magistrates of England on the Increase of Crime ;

and an efficient Remedy suggested for their consideration. By Sir E. E.

Wilmot, Bart. Second Edition, with Corrections.

II. A Letter to the Right Hon. Lord Goderich on the necessity of a

close Alliance between England, France, and the Netherlands. By an

Englishman.

III. An Introductory Lecture on Political Economy, delivered before

the University of Oxford, 6th Dec. 1826. By Nassau W. Senior, A. M.

IV. Lord Rossmore's Letter on Catholic Emancipation.

V. Analysis of the Character of Napoleon Bonaparte. By. W. E.

Channing, LL. D.

VI. Letters to the Right Hon. R. Peel, M.P. on the Effect and Object

of his Alteration in the Law of England, with reference to the Jurisdiction

of Justices of the Peace. By C. Bird, Barrister-at-Law. Second Edition..

VII. Remarks on the State of the Corn Question after the Parliamen-

tary Discussions of 1827; being an Appendix to “Observations on the

Corn Laws," addressed to W. W. Whitmore, Esq. M.P. in consequence

of his Letter to the Electors of Bridgenorth. (Original.]

VIII. Observations on the Power exercised by the Court of Chancery

of depriving a Father of the custody of his Children. By J. Beames,

Barrister-at-Law.

IX. A Letter to the Editor of the Quarterly Review, in furtherance of

the Subjects of three Articles in No. 72 of that Review, entitled, On

Agriculture and Rent; Substitution of Savings' Banks for Poor Laws;

On Planting Waste Lands, &c. By the Rev. F. Merewether.

X. A Speech on the present State of the Law of the Country; deli-

vered in the House of Commons, February 7th, 1828. By H. Brougham,

Esq. M.P.

XI. Letter to the Earl of Eldon, on the Report of the Finance Com-

mittee. By G. Farren, Esq.

XII. A Letter to J. Hughes, Esq. M.A. on the Systems of Education

proposed by the popular Parties. By the Rev. J. Philips Potter, M. A.

Second Edition.

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TO THE

MAGISTRATES OF ENGLAND

ON THE

INCREASE OF CRIME;

AND AN EFFICIENT REMEDY SUGGESTED FOR THEIR

CONSIDERATION.

BY SIR EARDLEY EARDLEY WILMOT, BART.

F.R.S. F.L.S. AND F.S.A.

One of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Warwick.

Nemo repente fuit turpissimus.

SECOND EDITION, WITH CORRECTIONS.

LONDON:-1827.

GENTLEMEN, It is now seven years since I first addressed the public on the Increase of Crime, and particularly among juvenile offenders. I pointed out what I humbly conceived to be the chief cause of this spreading evil; and I suggested a remedy wbich I believed would have had a great and immediate effect. I predicted, that crime would increase notwithstanding the improvements which the legislature, either in theory or practice, should enact; and I asserted, that the spot where a wise man would attempt to diminish the force of a torrent, was not at its confluence with the

sea,

but where its spring first bubbled in quiet and concealment.

The Middlesex jury baving lately noticed the great increase of juvenile delinquency, and having expressed an opinion, “ that the law of Petty Larceny should be revised, and that the magistrates should be enabled to proceed in a summary way against such cffenders," has induced me once again to trespass on the public tion ; and though I pretend not to that weight and influence which should make my opinion the guide of legislative enactments, yet having tried, during the last seven years only, above two thousand criminals for petty offences, in a county where the commitments equal those of any other county in England, I trust I do not presume too much, when I say that my experience is intitled to some attention.

It has long been my conviction, that notwithstanding the good which prison-discipline, penitentiary asylums, and other philanVOL. XXIX.

Pam.
NO. LVII.

A

thropic institutions have produced, yet as the most efficient and primary cause of the evil remained untouched, crime would increase in defiance of the enactments of the legislature, or the exertions of the philanthropist. It is undeniable, that an increase of population, the demoralising tendency of the poor-laws, the want of employment, the low price of labor, and though last not least, the inefficiency of the game-laws, have each contributed to swell the catalogue of offenders. There are other causes also which operate more or less in promoting the increase of crime, but which the natural wickedness of man will always create, and which the inefficacy of all human enactments cannot wholly prevent. But all these, powerful as they are, are only auxiliary causes, which have existed, and will continue to do so, so long as human nature is unchanged, and human enactments are imperfect. They may be efficient causes of the continuance of crime ; but cannot sufficiently account for that rapid increase of depravity, which within these few years has more than tripled the annual commitments throughout the kingdom.

Before I enter into what I conceive to be the primary cause of this dreadful evil, or suggest the remedy most likely to counteract it, I will say a few words on those collateral and auxiliary causes, to which so much more weight is given than they really merit; and which, however powerful in their respective degrees, yet can by no means account for the enormous increase of crime attributed to them,

There can be no doubt but that an increased population must necessarily add to the number of those who offend against the laws; and if from natural or artificial means the population should suffer temporary or permanent distress, temptation to crime will become strong and irresistible. The very prosperity of a nation, by introducing luxury and dissipation, must also introduce a laxity of morals, and must strengthen, by the facility of gratification, every dormant inclination to vice. The arts, sciences, and commerce, extend to such distant regions, and require such complicated safeguards to protect and encourage them, that offences are created by the very progress of improvement; and thus the victims, which the offended laws of our country demand for the security of the public, are annually sacrificed without pity, and almost without notice on the altars of public safety.

The poor-laws are another auxiliary to the increase of crime, aggravated chiefly by their abuse, and, by applying them to a purpose for which they never were intended. Instead of raising the wages of labor to the increased price of subsistence, the deficiency is made up out of the parish-rates; and thus the degradation of the moral feeling of the Jaborer inevitably attends the vicious

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